Category Archives: Rodney Agan

Tug and Not War Part 3 – Positive Tension on a Team

This is part 3 in the “Tug and Not War – Tension on a Team” series. See Part 1 and Part 2.

tug-of-war3In Part 1, we looked at four words associated with tension. They are: conflict, stress, strain, or pressure.  In Part 2 we discussed the word tension and how it can be defined as, “the act of stretching or straining.”  Both are action words and both create a pull in different directions; therefore, we get “tension”.  Note there is a positive side, “stretching”, and a negative side, “straining”.

Negative tension is a strain on a team, but positive tension will stretch a team.  The object is to rid a team of negative tension and foster an environment for positive tension.  How is that done?  The leader must immediately deal with the negative and never allow it to grow.  I call this process the Barney Fife model, “Nip it in the bud.”

Let me share 5 ways to develop positive tension on your team:

  1. Plan proper balance – I believe it is critical to have a diverse team as I have mentioned in Post 2.  Through Personality Assessment tools and personal coaching you can assemble a team that complements each other.  They do their part well, but are cross-trained to help their fellow team member when needed. The balance keeps the boat from turning over.
  2. Promote creativity – Each team member should be qualified and passionate about their area or they shouldn’t be on the team.  If that is the case, allow them to share their passions and goals.  When positive tension is taking place, the entire team will take their ideas and grow them together.
  3. Demand accountability – Once the team is in place and the road toward success has been defined, get ready, negative tension will surface.  It’s not a question of “if”, but of “when” and “how”.  The leader of the team MUST set up a plan of accountability.  A checks and balance system keeps things from going down a wrong road too far.  Don’t be shy as the leader to deal with something quickly and severely.  It may hurt for a moment, but will feel much better in the long run.  It will also set the boundaries for the team.
  4. Allow for personal growth – Every organization should have systems in place that allows everyone to know the rules, objectives, and what a win looks like.  When they are in place the leader begins to lead his leaders.  In turn each leader begins to train a third layer of leadership.  Give each team member opportunity to grow as an individual and the team will grow.
  5. Focus on a goal – When people get their eyes off of a common goal they will soon define their own individual goal and go in separate directions.  Work hard to achieve a team goal then celebrate when it is achieved.  When a goal is defined everyone will walk in the same direction. That way when the destination is reached, the entire team will be there.  You do not want to leave people behind.

Negative tension will kill you, but positive tension will energize you.

Do you have comments about positive tension?

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Tug and Not War Part 2 – Negative Tension on a Team

tug-of-war2This is part 2 in the “Tug and Not War – Tension on a Team” series. See Part 1

In Part 1, we looked at four words associated with tension. They are: conflict, stress, strain, or pressure.  Tension on a team can be fatal.  Teams are made of team members who are diverse to say the least.  They all have different temperaments and personalities.  Using the certain personal assessment tools overview of the diversity a team can have.  Personal Coaching and team development allows you to go to deeper levels. You learn your strengths, stresses, and passions.

The word tension can defined as, “the act of stretching or straining.”  Both are action words and both create a pull in different directions.  Both are action words and both create a pull in different directions; therefore, we get “tension”.  Note there is a positive side, “stretching”, and a negative side, “straining”.

Leaders realize that a diverse team is a good thing.  The worst thing a leader can have is a team of clones. The way I look at, I can do what I can do.  I need people around me that are good at doing things I am not good at doing.  The problem is that diversity of personalities can create negative tension.

Let me give you a list of some of the effects of negative tension:

  1. Unhealthy Competition – The right kind of “free market” competition is good, the wrong kind can kill you.  The team will begin to try to undercut their peers because they will see them as competition.
  2. Personalities – Negative tension always brings out the worst in people.  We all know the potential is there, we just suppress it.  When you get dominate, passionate people working against each other, they will butt heads more often than not.
  3. Unmet Expectations – No doubt your team has the desire to succeed or they would not be on your team.  When one fails, the team begins to fail.  The bar of success gets lowered for the team, and each person lowers their own personal goals for success.  The person who is still passionate will feel frustrated.
  4. A Martyr Mentality – They will say or feel things like, “I am the only one doing my job.  I am doing my job and their job.  It’s just not fair, etc.”  I think you get the gist.  They come across as being the ‘savior’ of the team.
  5. Disloyalty – After the other things begin to form, disloyalty will set it. First, the team members will become disloyal to each other.  Second, they will become disloyal to the leader.  Last, they will become disloyal to the cause.
  6. A Spreading Disease – When the steps of disloyalty start it will soon spread beyond the team.  Their family and friends will begin to get involved.  The people that are following the team will get a bad attitude about the team members, the leader, and the cause.
  7. Implosion – All that is left is the eulogy.  The gusto and drive is gone.  The heart of the team and the cause has been gutted.  When the vision is lost, it’s over.  Later people will look back at the team and the cause and wonder what happened.  They will think it was a faulty vision, or a lack opportunity and resources, but the real problem would be “negative tension.”

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Tug and Not War – Tension on a Team

This is part 1 in the “Tug and Not War – Tension on a Team” series.

When you see the word tension, you usually think about things like conflict, stress, strain, or pressure.  No leader wants these things for his team.  These things will cause a team to self-destruct.  It will implode and destroy anything connected to it.

Leaders spend a great deal of time working on relieving tension from the team.  By the time a leader realizes that tension is present on his team, it is probably already causing trouble.  The results of tension are simply acknowledging the deeper problems that have been missed or left unchecked.

In this opening post dealing with tension, let’s take a closer look at the four words already given that are usually linked to it:

  1. CONFLICT keeps a team from working smoothly and orderly.  It pits people against each other and breeds the wrong kind of competition.  Conflict creates a “look out for #1” mentality.  Instead of working like a team, they will work like individual enemies.
  2. STRESS causes nerves and tempers to flare.  When people are operating under stress they will not act rationally.  Decisions will be made more out of desperation and revenge than logic.  They will operate more in reaction mode than action mode.
  3. STRAIN makes for an unhappy environment.  Creativity is stifled because no one wants to be there.  Team members stop conversing on a personal level.  They begin to highlight only the negative issues they see, and that is all they WILL see.  When strained, teams do not have each other’s back, and will soon start to undercut the others on the team.
  4. PRESSURE is a sign of deeper problems.  Just like a fever is the indicator of an infection or something more serious, pressure affects a team the same way. It reveals that there are problems on the team.  Ask questions like: Who is it affecting? What is causing it? When is it most prevalent? Why has it not been alleviated? How can we solve it and keep the team intact?

In the next posts, I will be dealing with negative and positive tension on a team.  It will require you to be honest with the results you find and willing to do something about it.

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Patriotism Pt.3 – My Responsibility to My Children

I am deeply burdened about the future of my children and grandchildren. The world they will inherit is completely different from the world in which I grew up. Because of selfishness and a complete lack of character from earlier generations, we are handing over a broken nation. It is broken financially, emotionally, philosophically, physically, but most of all spiritually.

I am encouraged by the resolve of some of the next generation. There seems to be somewhat of a resurgence to simplicity and honesty that is refreshing. They are not impressed with our vision of the American dream. They are seeking a religion that is real, led by people who are honest, reaching people who are hurting. To them, it is not about having the biggest, most expensive anything. It is more about making a difference.

Below are five quick thoughts for you to consider. We have a responsibility to our children:

  1. Not to strangle them with person or national debt.

They need to be led by example to pay our bills and not have more than we can afford. They need to be trained to pay as you go and as you can afford it.

  1. To secure them a safe place to live.

We need to stand for a strong defense and not be ashamed of promoting an America that will defend itself and its allies.

  1. To protect their freedom of worship.

In recent years there has been an attack on Christianity. We must take a stand for freedom of religion in America, without apology.

  1. To give them an opportunity for a good education.

Our nation is the most industrialized in the world, yet we seem to find ourselves far down the list educationally.

  1. To teach them not to rely on government.

Government is a tool not the center point of our lives. When we live our lives based on biblical principles we will individually learn to do what the government was never designed to do.

  1. To lead them to love God with all their heart.

The next generation will have no chance of survival without a return to God and the fundamentals of godliness. The two greatest commandments are to love God and love our neighbor.

These are basic tenants of what I believe to be the formula for turning our nation back in the right direction.

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Patriotism Pt.2 – My Responsibility as a Citizen

This is the second of three posts on the subject of Patriotism. In the first post I discussed our responsibility as “Christians”. I would like to look here at our responsibility as “Citizens.”

Christians are not exempt from being good citizens. The Bible commands us to obey those who God has placed in authority over us. We are not to play God, but are to act godly. As a citizen you and I have been entrusted with protecting the freedom that we enjoy in America.

Here are my thoughts:


I might even drill that down even more and say, VOTE! If you do not vote, do not complain. If you do not vote, I believe you are violating a God-given mandate. It is our responsibility. Take it seriously and study the candidates and their platform … then vote!


In this election I hear people stating that since they cannot fully support a candidate, they will simply not vote. NEWS FLASH: There has never been a candidate that you or I could fully support. We are all different and see things differently theologically, philosophically, and ideologically. Not voting IS a vote… for the worst candidate!


There is nothing wrong with holding our lawmakers accountable. We are spending our way into poverty. We are legislating immorality. We are allowing an attack on religion. These, along with many others, are important issues. We should look for candidates who best align with our beliefs and vote for them. But, don’t stop there. Hold them accountable. Write an email, call their office, or better yet, pay a visit there. I have been to Washington and visited the offices of our Senators and Congressmen. I found them to have an open ear and eager to listen. If that does not work, vote them out!


I am grieved at the names and hatred people spew out of their mouths and hearts when it comes to politics. Whether or not I agree with the President, does not negate my responsibility to pray for him and respect the office. We are teaching our children a lesson about authority and many times it is not good. We should do our due diligence to know a politician’s stance before we vote. If someone is elected with whom we cannot fully agree, go above their heard…pray for them. In the Old Testament God turned the heart of wicked kings. If God decides to leave them in office, that is HIS business. There may come a time when it is the “lesser of two evils”, pray about it and vote the best you can, but VOTE!

We have a responsibility as citizens!

Article by Rodney Agan


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Patriotism Pt.1 – My Responsibility as a Christian

This is part one of a three-part series. As I consider what it means to be an American citizen, I am deeply moved. I have been privileged to travel to over a dozen foreign countries and view their systems of government. I have seen first-hand how they live and survive. I have never seen one place that I would trade for America.

As the Presidential Election approaches, I hear and read a lot of things that are filled with hatred and spite. One of the tenants of America is the freedom of speech. This is a great thing but can also be abused. Something that disturbs me the most is the hatred coming from people who claim to be Christians. I am a Christian and I believe in taking a stand, but not one that harms the name of Christ.

Below are three thoughts I would like you to consider about the responsibility we have as American Christians.

First, we should never allow politics to trump biblical principles.

In this post I will refrain from calling names or making personal attacks. What I would like to do is call attention to people who claim Christianity, yet will vote and support ideals that are in complete contradiction to the Bible. It is my belief that you should take a stand against things you cannot reconcile with Scripture. I cannot lend my support or vote to someone who believes in abortion, opposes the biblical definition of marriage, or will not take a stand to support Israel, to name a few. When we allow politics to get in the way of a biblical command, we will give an account to God.

Second, do not confuse patriotism with Christianity.

When I see ole’ Glory waving in the breeze, or hear a stirring rendition of the national anthem, it brings a tear to my eye. When I see soldiers in uniform and realize all that they have done for our freedom, my heart fills with American pride. But…this is not Christianity. Long before there was an America, and long after it is gone, God and His Word will stand. When we allow our feelings to get ahead of our responsibility, we hurt both our country and Christ.

Last, never elevate politicians to Prophets.

In this election it is good for Christians to remember that we are not electing a pastor, we are electing a President. I do not know if we will ever find a man with whom we would agree theologically. I hear Christians calling people names and using vulgar slang about people and subjects, even when there is no direct evidence. This kind of rhetoric makes Christians look like uneducated idiots and will never win the lost to Christ. Do not put your politician on a pedestal. See them as authority that we are to pray for and obey when it does not violate the Bible.

Take a stand, but do it with the love of God. We have a responsibility as Christians!

What are your comments?

Article by Rodney Agan


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